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Glamour Women’s Month Series: Media mogul Peace Hyde is re-writing the African narrative

Award-winning journalist, producer, creator, entrepreneur, and activist, Peace Hyde is the full package. Born and raised in London, United Kingdom, Hyde is of Ghanaian descent, and relocated there in 2015 to be closer to her to roots.

The media mogul is the founder of Aim Higher, an NPO focused on providing quality education to impoverished communities in Africa.

In 2018, she was shortlisted by former US President Barrack Obama from a pool of 30 000 African leaders to be part of the 200 Inaugural Obama Foundation Africa Leaders, in recognition of her charitable work.

She is currently the head of digital media and a West African correspondent at Forbes Africa, and has produced numerous shows that delve into the African experience - from talking to the continent’s billionaires to investigating police brutality in Nigeria.

Her latest feat is being the creator and executive producer of the first African reality series on Netflix, Young, Famous and African. Peace chats exclusively to Glamour SA, on what it means to be a pioneer woman of colour in this space:

You have an impressive resume under your belt and are considered an icon in the African media space. When/how did your career in media begin?

I began my journey in the media industry when I made the transition from a Chemistry, Physics and Biology teacher in the UK. At the time, the goal was to find some meaningful way of contributing to the African narrative by telling and celebrating positive black and African role models in the media.

When you are British-Ghanaian but have never stepped foot in Africa and you expect your students to know about successful black or African role models to look up to, you soon realise you are fighting a battle you cannot win.

It was either I became a part of the problem or the solution. Moving into media was me choosing to be the latter and it started with taking the plunge and leaving all that was familiar and moving to Ghana. I would say my biggest advice for anyone looking to make it in the business is to take the plunge. You will never know what you are capable of by remaining stagnant in an environment that you know will not serve you.

Congratulations on your Netflix show Young, Famous & African, which is the platform’s first African reality series. How does it feel to be a pioneer woman of colour on this project?

I feel immensely proud and excited to be paving the way for other creators in this genre to make their mark. I believe Africa has such a rich and diverse cultural heritage which resonates with the global community. By being the first in the unscripted space on Netflix, I have had such great response from both Africa and the wider community, which has been truly remarkable. Women are now reaching out to me to say they are taking their ideas seriously now and they are now inspired to also venture into the unknown and I think that is so inspirational. It is definitely a proud moment.

How did the concept of this show come to fruition?

The show came about when I realised, there was not a series or story that celebrates the exploits of successful young and aspirational Africans and since I have spent almost a decade speaking to the wealth of Africa along with chart topping and pioneering entrepreneurs, I felt it would be good to have a show that uncovers the lives and relationships of some of Africa’s elite. I was tired of the old narratives of Africa and I wanted to watch people who reflected the other side of Africa. The glitzy and sexy side of Africa where dreams do come true and people are making their mark in their respective industries.

You have produced numerous pan-African shows, including Against the Odds and My Worst Day with Peace Hyde. What is the message/lessons you aim to instil in viewers through your shows?

My Worst Day, focuses on interviewing all the billionaires in Africa, particularly about their most challenging day in business. It seeks to understand the mindset that comes with overcoming failure and succeeding. Against All Odds, seeks to unravel the psyche of remarkable women and how they mentally overcome impossible odds. My goal with the shows I create is to always inspire others to achieve their fullest potential. I believe the best way to learn and grow is to take lessons from those who have gone before us and who have achieved seemingly impossible feats. I believe it take a village to succeed and I want that village to be ground-breaking, ambitious and African game changers.

You produced a documentary on police brutality in Nigeria. Is there any particular issue or story from the continent that you would still like to highlight in the future?

I am passionate about telling African stories and while I always want to tell the positive narratives, I believe it is our job as content creators to also highlight social injustices that occur in our communities. My End Sars documentary was for Vice Media and it is the winner of four awards so far namely, the Top Shorts Film Festival Award, the Lonely Wolf Film Festival Award, the IMBD Sponsor Award and the Los Angeles Film Festival award.

Based on the resounding success of the documentary, it is very clear to me that there is a growing global appetite for social documentaries. The team and I are developing some projects that cover different narratives affecting the LGBTQ community, for example, as well as gender-based issues.

Through all your career success, you have been cemented as an African media star. What do you hope to achieve with your platform?

I believe I am here to redefine the African narrative. As a journalist and content creator, I believe it is my job to use my platform for the positive advancement of Africa in global media and that is what I endeavour to do every day. I truly believe it is up to us in the media space to show the world how amazing our continent is and stop allowing the western media who only take short trips to the continent to be in control of our narrative. I always say, Until the Lion learns how to write, the story will always glorify the hunter.

You have interviewed many exceptional women in your career. Who is someone that truly inspired you or what did they say that always stayed with you?

It is so hard to choose one because I have really had the amazing opportunity to sit and talk to a lot of amazing, super talented women. They are all inspirational in their own unique ways but I would say one of the biggest influences on my life is Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, a woman I have grown closer to over the years. As Africa’s richest woman with an estimated net worth of over $1billion, she is the one true definition of resilience. Her journey to becoming one of most successful women on the continent in a male-dominated sector like oil gas, and having to battle the Nigerian government for over 12 years when they took what rightly belonged to her and won, is truly a masterclass in tenacity and dedication.

Based on everything you have been through; do you have any pearls of wisdom for young Africans trying to find their feet?

I would say it is definitely important to trust the process. Every day I speak to young people who have huge dreams but are not prepared to put in the work because they are looking for a short cut to success. The truth is there is no short cut. There is only hard work and consistency. So, it is important to trust the process and understand that life is a marathon and not a race.

What do you love most and least about your job?

I love absolutely everything about my job and that is a true blessing. I get to wake up and speak to remarkable entrepreneurs all over the continent and I get to amplifying their remarkable stories through my platforms. I also get to create really inspirational and ground-breaking shows that celebrates the true beauty of our African continent and have so much fun doing it. What’s not to love about that?

When going through difficulty, what motivates you to keep going?

I am always inspired by those who have gone through life changing moments and overcome them. I believe the true essence of the human journey lies in our ability to overcome failure and use it as a stepping stone to achieve our fullest potential. A key factor in doing that is having faith. I am extremely faith driven and in my most difficult times, I lean on that inner voice to keep me going. It has never steered me wrong and it is always there to let me know that tomorrow is going to be a better day, just keep pushing through and never give up.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the journey of those who did not conform to the status quo and those who never gave up on their dreams.

When you are not working, how do you like to spend your free time?

I am never not working, lol. But when I do take some time off, I love to relax with a good book, unplug and get lost in a different world.

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